Seattle City Council | KUOW News and Information

Seattle City Council

Jenny Durkan at her election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2017
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle mayor-elect Jenny Durkan greeted her 61-member transition team at a meeting at McCaw Hall Thursday. Members gave her a standing ovation after her introduction by former King County Executive Ron Sims, who said he is “ecstatic” about Durkan’s win.

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/s/aHsju5PWuH

Seattle officials are conducting an environmental review of the entire city to look at the possible impacts of building more backyard cottages. Some lawmakers want to make it easier for homeowners to build them.

Residents can weigh in now on the scope of that environmental review.

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

When the Highway 99 tunnel through Seattle opens to traffic in 2019, state transportation officials plan to charge a toll to drive through it.

That has prompted another idea to gain steam: a toll on downtown surface streets.

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

People from several Seattle organizations plan to camp at Seattle City Hall Wednesday night. They plan to roll out sleeping bags and blankets on the outside plaza and inside the City Hall doors. 

The homeless encampment known as the Jungle was he scene of a Jan. 26, 2016 shooting that killed two and wounded three.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a proposed head tax that would require high earning businesses in Seattle to pay $100 per employee. The funds raised would go towards programs that help people experiencing homelessness.  

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Seattle City Council members are considering a tax on big business to fund services for homelessness.

This kind of tax is often known as a “head tax” or “employee hours tax.” And it’s actually nothing new for Seattle. The city had something like it for transportation funding, until it was repealed in 2009.

A previous attempt at providing broadband service through a public-private partnership fell apart in 2013.
Flickr Photo/Steve Rhode (CC BY-NC-ND)

Remember municipal broadband? The idea suffered a blow in Seattle when a partnership involving the city, the University of Washington and a private company fell apart in 2013.

But the dream never died. Now supporters are pushing another campaign.

A scene from a simulation by the Washington State Department of Transportation of what could happen if a massive earthquake hits the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
YouTube/WSDOT

Hundreds of old brick buildings in Seattle are at risk of collapsing during a major earthquake – that’s clear.

Also clear: These structures are often in neighborhoods with high risk for displacement – affecting people of color and low-income households.

Queen Anne Avenue is now zoned to allow 85ft buildings between Denny Way and Roy Street
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/5BRcDM

Taller developments will now be allowed in Seattle's lower Queen Anne neighborhood. The City Council unanimously passed a rezone measure on Monday.

It’s the last of five neighborhood rezones expected this year, after legislation was already approved for the University District, Chinatown-International District, parts of the Central Area, and downtown/South Lake Union.

Mayor Tim Burgess answers questions on Monday, September 18, 2017, after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess has unveiled his proposed 2018 city budget.

It's perhaps the most important thing he’ll do in his short time in the mayor’s office and he made sure to insert some of his own priorities into the document before presenting it to council.

FILE: Then-Councilmember Tim Burgess signs an official document after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle on Monday, September 18, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess will unveil his 2018 city budget Monday.

Most of the work on the budget had already been done before Burgess ascended to the office of mayor last week.

But he’s included some legislation of his own.

Councilmember Tim Burgess, right, takes the oath of office, administered by Seattle City Clerk Monica Simmons, on Monday, September 18, 2017, becoming the mayor of Seattle, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has another new mayor, the third in less than a week.

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell signs an executive order on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, after taking the oath of office and becoming the mayor of Seattle at City Hall.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bruce Harrell, president of the Seattle City Council, has been mayor for two days. 

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell is sworn into office by city clerk Monica Simmons, right, becoming the mayor of Seattle, on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at City Hall.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has a new mayor.


The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Washington State GOP chair Susan Hutchison, and Geekwire editor and co-founder Todd Bishop about whether or not Seattle's progressive climate has pushed Amazon to open a second headquarters outside of Seattle.

Seattle may regulate Airbnb, VRBO and other short term rentals by next year. The Seattle City Council discussed a new proposal Wednesday, after the vacation industry opposed earlier versions.

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

The Seattle Human Rights Commission issued a terse statement on Tuesday afternoon, urging Mayor Ed Murray to resign.

Hisam Goueli participated in Seattle's new democracy voucher program this year as a city council candidate
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

This year, Seattle embarked on a bold political experiment in public funding for elections: the Democracy Voucher program.


Bill Radke speaks with professor Sara Rankin of Seattle University and Scott Lindsay, former public safety advisor to the mayor of Seattle, about legislation being crafted that may aim to end ticketing of cars that double as residences for their owners, which is up to 40 percent of all homeless in the city. 

Seattle Design Commission

Groundbreaking for a new mega-project in Downtown Seattle is slipping further back. The expansion of the Washington State Convention Center is now months behind schedule.

Developers still need two big things: money and land.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

One thing all of the candidates running for Seattle City Council Position 8 agree on: The rent is too damn high. But they're divided on what to do about it. 

A mural on 20th Avenue in Seattle's Central District
KUOW Photo/Paul Kiefer

A plan to bring more affordable housing to Seattle's Central District was approved by the City Council today. 

It's one part of the city's goal to add 20,000 new units for lower-income households (those making less than 60 percent of the area’s median income).

A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21, 2016 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle is a step closer to getting a law that prohibits biased policing.

The proposed legislation would take the Seattle Police Department's bias-free policing policies and incorporate them into city law.

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Bill Radke talks to Seattle resident and software engineer Ashok Chandwaney about why he supports a Seattle income tax that he would eventually need to pay.

Michelle DeLappe, Seattle tax attorney with the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer, says the tax passed by the Seattle City Council is illegal and she would love to help take the case up in court. 

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Seattle's City Council has unanimously passed an income tax on high earners in the city. Next stop, court. 

The Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based conservative think tank, is already gearing up for a legal challenge against the ordinance.  

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Flickr Photo/Seattle City Council (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/U5ehfF

By Monday, Seattle could be the first city in Washington to adopt an income tax. The Seattle City Council's finance committee has approved a tax on high earners, which would go into effect in 2019.

Bella, a pot belly pig from Seattle, gets a weekly manicure. She used to get bubble baths, but she's become too heavy for her own to lift into the tub, so she settles for showers.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Louren Reed first saw the sign at Eckstein Middle School in north Seattle: “No dogs, cats, or pot bellied pigs.”

The Seattle City Council will likely pass an income tax in July, aimed at income above $250,000 for a single filer (above $500,000 for those filing jointly).

Bill Radke speaks with Katie Wilson of the Transit Riders Union and Trump-Proof Seattle Coalition, who supports the tax, hoping that it leads to more economic equity in the city and pays for needed services. She also believes that the 2 percent tax is nominal for citizens, though it will potentially raise $125 million.  

Also in the studio, Matt McIlwain from the Madrona Venture Group disagrees with the tax, concerned it will discourage high-earners from moving to Seattle or remaining in city limits. He also notes that while the income tax is aimed at only certain people now, history shows that taxes like this often wind up being spread to a much larger population. 

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about why he sponsored a resolution saying Seattle will uphold the Paris Climate Agreement and how city leaders can get the city to reduce its carbon footprint. 

Lisa Herbold at the former Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle’s Gatewood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Seattle City Council members have released details of a proposed income tax on high-income residents.

The proposed legislation, released Monday, would levy a flat 2 percent tax on annual income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for couples filing joint taxes.  

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